We have made a wholesale change to our lifestyle. Working from home is the new norm and whole families are coming together via the internet, using previously unheard of platforms. Religious festivals at which family and friends would meet have instead been celebrated online. Family quizzes, work-outs, impromptu cooking classes – online events I have been party to since 23rd March.
Criminals have stayed indoors too. Street-based crimes have decreased but cyber crime is up by over 400% as criminals prey on fears around COVID-19. You’ve probably received at least one email or text offering “government” money, miracle cures, or advising of a non-payment of a streaming account. There are many rumours about banking “hacks” via Zoom or Houseparty, now the go-to video platforms for us all.
The key to being safe online is your password. Every account for which you use a password should have a unique passphrase. Ideally, a three random word phrase. Separate each word with a special character (if the system permits) and mix in a number or two. RichmondTW2 can be cracked almost instantly; pen-flughafen-ball would take 85 billion years! Make every passphrase unique, strictly monitor who is entering your video call, and you can Houseparty with freedom rather than fear.
Neil Sinclair is the National Cyber Lead for the Police Digital Security Centre and has been a borough resident for over 20 years. Neil was recognised in The Progress 1000: London’s most influential people 2019 for his work in Technology & Cyber Security.
Neil has worked in UK counter-terrorism policing for over thirty years and has been involved in most of the Metropolitan Police’s biggest Terrorist Operations. He was a key member of the National Terrorist Financial Investigation Unit for 10 years and is an accredited Financial Investigator.
Neil was the Lead for Financial Intelligence at GCHQ, prior to joining the Police Digital Security Centre.